The judges of the Court of Auditors have criticised sharply the behaviour and actions of one of José Sócrates' Secretaries of State, Rocha Andrade.
At issue is the purchase of Kamov helicopters, the fact they were late in being delivered, that the taxpayer was charged €22,000 an hour for replacements hired to fight fires, and that the government did not apply penalty clauses in full.
The Sócrates government opted to buy Kamov helicopters in 2006 as Portugal did not have any suitable aircraft to fight fires and continuing to hire them was expensive.
Heliportugal, the company chosen to supply the six Russian built Kamov helicopters for €42.1 million, failed to deliver the order within the contracted time period which forced the state into hiring additional fire fighting aircraft in the summer of 2007.
The Court of Auditors judges have concluded that the state, represented by Rocha Andrade, pretty much ignored the part in the contract that stipulated the delivery times and associated penalty clauses should the helicopters be late, which they were.
Heliportugal also was paid largely up front even though the delays were evident.
The judges concluded that the government did not act in the public interest as Heliportugal paid €2.5 million in penalty payments, just 14.9% of the total amount that the government should have claimed and received.